Christmas, Napper power Longwood past UNC Asheville for NCAA Tournament berth

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — Michael Christmas scored 18 points, Walyn Napper approached triple-double territory and fifth-seeded Longwood defeated No. 2 UNC Asheville 85-59 on Sunday to win the Big South Conference Tournament.

The victory sends the Lancers to the NCAA Tournament for the second time. They also qualified in 2022.

After scoring 42 points in the first half, the Lancers kept it going after halftime. They pushed their lead to 25 points within the first four minutes and they led by at least 25 throughout the final nine minutes. They shot 59.6% for the game, with 7 of 13 from 3-point distance, and were a solid 16 of 23 from the free-throw line.

Napper had 10 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds for Longwood (21-13). Szymon Zapala had 17 points and seven rebounds. Jesper Granlund and Johnathan Massie scored 11 points each.

Drew Pember led UNC Asheville (22-12) with 14 points.

Longwood dominated the first half, shooting 60% and scoring 30 points in the paint on the way to a 42-24 halftime lead. Zapala scored 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting and Napper had six assists. A 13-0 run led to a 22-6 advantage and the Lancers led by at least 13 points for the remainder of the half.

___ Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here ___ AP college basketball: and